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Thomas fire in California now the 2nd largest in state’s history

The monster Thomas fire north of Los Angeles is leaving its place in the state's record books as it is now officially the second largest fire in California history. For the past 16 days, the fire that has been turning mountainsides to ash has grown. The fire only needs to consume a couple thousand more acres to dethrone the 2003 Cedar fire that maintains the top spot on the list. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced this morning that 60 percent of the fire is contained, up from 55 percent Tuesday and 50 percent on Monday. Cal Fire reported that it was the same size -- 272,000 acres -- as the night before. So far, the overpowering Thomas fire has claimed two lives, caused more than 100,000 people to flee their homes and destroyed 1,313 structures. More than 8,526 firefighters have put [...]

December 20th, 2017|0 Comments

Inferno-fanning winds set to return as Thomas Fire close to becoming largest ever in California by PHIL HELSEL

Calm winds have helped California firefighters make progress battling a massive blaze in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, but the fire is expected to eclipse the largest wildfire in recorded state history, officials said. "We've had a very productive day again. It’s nice having a couple days in a row where we have good progress," Deputy Chief Mark Brown of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, said Monday night. The so-called Thomas fire has burned burned around 272,000 acres since it broke out on the evening of Dec. 4. A respite from powerful winds allowed firefighters to reach 50 percent containment on the fire, and crews were taking advantage of calm conditions Tuesday by performing a controlled burn to remove swaths of dry brush along the fire's northern edge. Related: Two months later, California wildfire victims begin the long road [...]

December 20th, 2017|0 Comments

California Fires Live Updates: Homes Burn in Los Angeles and Ventura County

LOS ANGELES — Ash rained down on one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles on Wednesday as flames engulfed homes nestled on the cliffs above it, while a much larger wildfire continued to rage out of control in the Ventura area. Los Angeles officials said Wednesday morning that at least four homes had been destroyed near the 405 Freeway and that more remained at risk. In the exclusive Bel-Air neighborhood, the fire clogged traffic for miles in every direction, including on the narrow residential streets in the hills where many residents were ordered to evacuate. In Ventura County, more than 1,700 firefighters were working to contain a fire that had burned 65,000 acres by Wednesday morning and was threatening 12,000 structures. “These are days that break your heart,” Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said at a news conference. “These are also days that [...]

December 6th, 2017|0 Comments

Southern California fires growing quickly, forcing thousands to evacuate.

Tens of thousands fled their homes Tuesday as several incredibly fast-moving brush fires pushed by howling Santa Ana winds scorched parts of Southern California. "Fires are breaking out across the so. Cal. Region... Be fire safe. Firefighters are working very hard to minimize damage to property. Evacuations are taking place in many places in Southern California," the Ventura County Fire Department tweeted. Unpredictable winds and extremely dry brush, victim of little rainfall over the past three months, fueled at least five blazes.  In Los Angeles, at least 500 firefighters watched a fire go from 4,000 acres to 11,000 in a matter of hours. "We simply don't know what this fire will do," Mayor Eric Garcetti said. To the west, the biggest blaze had zero containment and it had grown to 50,000 acres -- about 78 square miles -- in just 19 hours. Photos: Wildfire spreads in Southern [...]

December 5th, 2017|0 Comments

Helena fire: 72 homes destroyed

The Helena Fire, which has scorched 17,579 acres in Trinity County, destroyed 72 homes and caused the evacuation of about 2,000 residents, has slowed due to firefighting efforts and cooler weather as its containment continues to grow. Although still active, the Helena Fire and the 3,545-acre Fork Fire in the Trinity Alps Wilderness started by lightning on Aug. 7, and they are a combined 55 percent contained, fire officials said Thursday. Full containment is expected Oct. 1. MORE: Helena Fire evacuees return to joy, sorrow Dry and seasonable weather is forecast through Friday, but there's a chance of rain Sunday night and Monday with the wet weather possibly extending into the middle of next week. Fire officials say the human-caused Helena Fire, which erupted Aug. 30, remains under investigation, but they have not provided any information on how it started. "We know It's (the cause), not lightning," said [...]

September 21st, 2017|0 Comments

Helena fire containment up

Firefighters continue to work on containing the damaging Helena fire, with the focus on protecting residences in the Canyon Creek Road area and completing handlines. As of Tuesday, the human-caused Helena fire that burned 72 homes in Junction City had reached 18,392 acres. The lightning-caused Fork fire in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, which is expected to merge with the Helena fire, had reached 3,519 acres. The two fires are being managed by the same team and together encompass 21,911 acres. Containment on the fires was at 58 percent. “We’ve gained a lot of ground,” said Olivia Rahman, information officer for the Helena-Fork fire. “We’ve secured a lot of the edge of the fire.” Firefighters have been patrolling around residences on Canyon Creek Road looking for signs of remaining heat close to containment lines. They also are working to complete remaining handlines east into Connor Creek [...]

September 16th, 2017|0 Comments